Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pancakes, Pies and Bears (I mean muffins)- Oh My!

Where to start...I almost feel like this has temporarily become a cooking blog. I've just had so much produce (so so so much) that is rapidly going bad all the time that now I feel like I have to bake and cook things as fast as I can just to keep up! Tomorrow is my local CSA pick up. Now, don't get me wrong, I love the days where I get to pick up my produce from the CSA and I look forward to it all week (getting a surprise of fresh produce is so exciting!), but I also get stressed. Have I mentioned I get stressed easily? Well yeah...I do. I get stressed out earlier in the week because I feel a need to purge the fridge and try to make use of as much as I possibly can so that I'll have room for the coming "shipment" of fruits and vegetables.

So what have I done this week to prepare and assist in "purging" the fridge? I've baked, and I've baked and I've baked...and cooked occasionally...

For those who are interested, I shall now go through my more successful expenditures...

Since last Wednesday, I've now made Blackberry/Raspberry Pie in a Jar three times. Yup, three times now (I made it again last night). They have been very popular...with this however, I have now worked through all of my raspberries and blackberries (with the exception of one raspberry package which I am saving for some pancakes tomorrow).

Earlier in the week I discussed a few of the other pancakes etc I've been baking, and yesterday I made Whole Wheat Brown Sugar Banana Bread Pancakes. I ended up using only two bananas (I didn't have a third) and added an extra 1/4 a cup of milk. They were still very thick, but overall turned out well. The only "criticism", (if it really is considered criticism) was that it was like eating a cake :) This recipe wasn't really used for the intention of using up produce, however I was able to finish off some bananas that I had.

(Here's a picture of them with butter and maple syrup. Sorry, they aren't very pretty looking- I'm not a good enough chef to be able to cook things to look pretty *and* tasty so right now I focus on tasty. Maybe once I become better at cooking, I'll learn how to make them look prettier too- and I'll be able to buy a better camera that can somewhat decent photos, as opposed to my Yesterday I also made Carrot Applesauce Muffins as well! Unfortunately I have misplaced where I got the recipe from, since it was saved as a word document on my computer, but here is my adapted version:

Carrot Applesauce Muffins

- scant 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda + 1 tbsp lemon juice to activate
- 1 tsp ground orange zest
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/2 cup apple sauce
- scant 1 cup sugar
- scant 1 cup roughly chopped dried apricots
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- scant 1 cup roughly grated carrot (if anyone has a juicer, I often save save bits that are leftover after juicing some carrots and stick it in a ziplock bag in the freezer for instances such as this!)
- pinch salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease 16 muffin tins or line with cupcake baking cups.
2. Separate the eggs and lightly whisk together the two yolks. Add the oil, sugar and apple sauce and beat together with an electric mixer for about 1 minute until well combined.
3. In a small bowl pour lemon juice over baking soda and mix well, until only bubbles are left. Pour the bubbly liquid into the batter. Add the flour, the baking soda and the orange zest to the batter and mix until just combined. Add the carrots, the walnuts and the dried apricots and mix lightly. Be careful not to over mix.
4. In a separate dry bowl beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form firm peaks.
5. Next, gently fold the egg whites into the carrot mixture. Again, be careful not to over mix; it is fine to have streaks of white remaining in the mixture.
6. Using a large ice cream scoop, pour the mixture into the prepared muffin tins and bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
7. Let the muffins cool completely, then remove from the tins.

I really liked this recipe and the dried apricots tasted amazing in the muffins!

In preparation for the CSA tomorrow I am making...another pie. This one is a Peach-Pear Pie since I had a lot guessed it- peaches and pears that were about to go bad. The pie is in the oven now and smells amazing - I just hope it turns out as well as it smells!

Update: The pie turned out AMAZINGGGGG WOW!!

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